WFP Reports Record Aid Deliveries to Syria

The World Food Program says it distributed UN humanitarian food aid to a record 4.1 million people inside Syria in August due to improved access.

The deliveries follow the passage of a UN Security Council resolution allowing WFP aid to enter opposition-held areas without the approval of the Syrian government.

Earlier Tuesday, Fiji's military commander said al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria have made a set of demands they want fulfilled before they released a group of 45 Fijian U.N. peacekeepers.

Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga said Tuesday that the Nusra Front wanted to be removed from the UN's list of terror groups, humanitarian aid to be sent to areas around Damascus and compensation for three of its members killed in fighting. He did not say what would be done about the Nusra Front's demands.

The Nusra Front kidnapped the peacekeepers Thursday in the Golan Heights.

Syrians carry food as they return to the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh near Damascus on July 14, 2014. /AP Syrians carry food as they return to the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh near Damascus on July 14, 2014. /AP

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for their release, and said Monday that UN agencies were negotiating with armed groups for the peacekeepers' freedom.

Also Monday, Ireland's defense minister said his country needs safety reassurances from the UN before it sent more peacekeepers to the Golan Heights next month.

Ireland's troops are due to rotate personnel in October.

Austria, Japan and Croatia already removed forces from the Israel-occupied Golan Heights as the boundaries of Syria's civil war expanded.

Peacekeepers have monitored the demilitarized zone for 40 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

VOA News / Sep. 03, 2014 08:13 KST